Monday, June 8, 2015

Özcan Purcu goes to the Turkish Parliament

Özcan Purcu winning the election 2015 June became the first Roma parliamentarian of Turkey who declare his Romani origin publicly. The parents of Özcan Purcu, who was born in Söke (Aegean region, Turkey), subsist on basketmaking and peddling. Özcan Purcu, who represented Turkish Roma in various European institutions, have become one of the 132 parliamentarian of Republican People's Party 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Trajectory of Roma in Turkey

*The first Roma associations was found in 1990s.

*In 2000s, associations, email groups, web pages and online radios over which Roma youth and local community leaders communicated were established.

*In 2010, March 14; thousands of Roma gathered in İstanbul in a meeting to which government representatives also participated.

*Roma associations came to unite under federations and confederations.

*For the elections 2015, 3 parties which have a group in the parliament presented Roma candidates.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Romani Candidates of Turkey General Election 2015

Three Roma candidates will participate in the election 2015, June 7. Özcan Purçu, whose family still lives in Söke (Aegean region, Turkey), is a candidate of CHP (Republican People's Party) in İzmir (Smyrna, Aegean region). Sedat Zımba, who was the candidate of other parties in former elections, becomes the candidate of HDP (Peoples' Democracy Party) in Edirne (Thrace, Marmara region). Cemal Bekle who was also the candidate in the election 2011, becomes the candidate of AK Parti (Justice and Development Party) in this election. For many commentators, It's taken for granted that Özcan Purçu who participates the election in İzmir in where CHP is the strongest party, will win the elections.

In  this election, there are  more Roma candidates who publicly declare their Romani origin, than the former elections. However there have always been Roma candidates and parliamentarians in Turkish parliament. But they mostly preferred to hide their Romani identity. And it is new that the Roma candidate today, prefer to emphasize their identity strongly. It is also such an important question that how this development will effect the results of the election.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

We are Roma

We came from India 1000 years ago. 
Then the Aegean coast and immense Thrace 
have become our new land.

We integrated the wisdom of ancient India with 
the enthusiasm of our new land.

For 1000 thousands year, we have 
been blacksmiths, tinners and musicians 
of this land.

Today, the destiny of most of us is poverty
So be it as long as viles don’t touch 
our honor.

WE ARE ROMA, pure in heart and honest.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TV never Gives up Stereotypes

The television serious which will be broadcasted on one of the national tv channels of Turkey named "Roman havası" (Traditional Romani music) claim to be the newest version of tv series like "Darbukatör Bayram" (Bayram the darbuka player) or "Cennet Mahallesi" which was full of stereotypes about Roma. Although Roma society and the conditions they live in have changed, the themes displayed in these series are never changed and this create anger among Roma espacially the new generations. Roma want to see not only wedding or fight scenes in tv series which claim to reflect Roma community but also Roma doctors, lawyers, artists and politicians who try to have a better position in greater society despite all kind of barriers which imprison them in extreme poverty.

The producers of the tv series are happy with their job believing that they create an acceptable Roma image. However Roma complain about these series which characterise Roma as persosn whose life is full of wedding and fight and stolid. Roma are unhappy about the fact that there are no tv series reflecting the real problems of Roma people like unemployment, housing conditions or unaccesbility to the education and the barriers which hinder educated Roma trying to change their life. Roma demand tv producers focus on these issuses instead of strengthinig the stereotypes about Roma.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sulukule Roma Lost their Neşe Aunt

Human rights activist Neşe Ozan  who was called as Neşe Aunt among Sulukule Roma lost her life. Neşe Ozan who had had a cancer treatment for a long time supported local Roma women for the foundation of "Kader Kısmet Atölyesi" (The atelier of destiny and fortune) which would became a NGO standing on its own feets and in where Roma women convert their manuel labor info cash. We, as Media Roma and families, condole her relatives. Our condolences to Sulukule Roma.

In the second half of 2000s, Sulukule, which was among the oldest Roma settlements of Turkey the world, gradually demolished in the context of urban renewal project. Roma families, who were not able to survive in mass-housings prepared for them in Taşoluk which is in the rural side of the city turned to Sulukule. They rent cheap houses around their former settlement. In one sense, the Roma neighbourhood was established again although it was much more scattered this time. One of the their friends who support them in this process was human rights activists Neşe Ozan. "Kader Kısmet Atölyesi" which was founded to overcome their financial problems became so popular among Roma women. The organization which stand on its own found without external support gained wide currency soon.